Monday, September 22, 2014

[WFRP] Fate Points

In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, fate points separate your character from all the other people inhabiting the game world. When something tragic happens to the character, you can spend a point, indicating that your character had dodged fate and lived to face another day. With this in mind, I think fate points should be something special and epic that happens, not just a generic "the attack misses you; your turn."

In the past, we've had experiences where a character uses a fate point so that the blow that kills them never lands, just to have the GM kill them on the next attack. I feel that cheats the idea.

When a player uses a fate point, I like to have something occur that changes the whole tide of the battle. Losing characters suddenly find themselves winning the fight due to a very improbable occurrence. Characters crushed by a rock slide instead find that rocks fell everywhere around them, miraculously sparing them. It might take a moment to stop and think, but the more creative the better.

Monday, September 15, 2014

[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 40

Maximillian Morningglory, Halfling Vampire Hunter
Magnus the Pony

My companions
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer (Absent)
Durak Braksson - Dwarf

Tegort - Ogre bodyguard
Abelhardt Mullberger - Journeyman Apprentice
Fickuld - Young Camp Follower

(Previous update)

We attacked the front gate.

True to Mullberger's vision, we had no problem navigating through the remainder of the barrows, and the necromantic dwarf wights did not bother us in the least. There were four evil elves and a twisted female daemon of some sort (I will have to look more into these things when the time permits) guarding the gate. It seems the battle prowess of elves is overstated, as I'm not sure any of us were even injured getting into the keep.

I was going to kill another daemon, but Udrin banished her back to the infernal realms. Sometimes he's a killjoy.

Behind unlocked iron doors stretched an extremely long hallway. An evil elf was running up the hall, most likely to give warning of our appearance, but I swiftly took him down with my crossbow. We could hear chanting and see multiple shapes milling around a room at the end of the hall.

We headed up the hall until a large evil elf with a hefty looking warhammer came to the doorway of the room ahead and told us we were too late to stop his evil machinations (or something like that). Udrin recognized a prisoner chained the in room behind the large elf. It was a dwarf by the name of Mordrin, someone Udrin had told us was dead.

Though the dwarf didn't look very good, it didn't look like he was dead. From what I could see, he had metal attached to his head, his ribs, and one of his hands. Otherwise, he was completely unarmed and unarmored. He didn't look like he was really paying attention, so I don't know what's going on. We'll have to head up the hall and find out.

(Read Mordrin's Story)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Planned Encounters

Is it just me, or are the best random encounters not truly random?

In our WFRP 2e game, the party was merrily tacking upriver just trying to get from one location to another. Out of nowhere, in the middle of the night, the boat was attacked by skaven. It seemed like the attack was completely random, and we almost lost my ogre bodyguard and the ship ran aground as nobody manned the rudder. From our point of view, the GM rolled "Skaven" on a random encounter chart.

However, a sitting or two later we found out that a passenger on board was carrying warpstone, unbeknownst to everyone else. Therefore attack was in no way random, and we were able to look back and have an "ah-ha" moment.

It was oddly disjointed, but not completely inappropriate, when the skaven attacked. This is the feel for many random encounters rolled by GMs. However, linking it back to the warpstone shows just how planned the encounter was. It was actually a clue to the bigger mystery. It was possible we could have followed the reason for the attack like a detective on the prowl. It would have changed the results of our actions significantly.

Random encounters work the best when they are tied into the adventure somehow. At that point, as they truly random? I guess that depends on whether the GM rolls a random encounter and then finds a way to tie it in or if the GM creates the random encounter chart with little bits already tied in.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Journey vs Destination

We had some talk recently in the G+ Warhammer Community about whether we focus on the journey or the destination in our RPGs. These questions are never as polar as they seem.

I brought up a few points: Is the GM running a location-based adventure? Did they or the party want the extra part of the adventure that comes with the journey? What medium are you playing in?

For location-based adventures, many GMs admit to just hand-waving the travel portion. It seems best if that is agreed upon by the entire group. Our WFRP 2e GM said he often just uses a "time passes, you arrive" approach.

I think a GM should read the attitude of the group (which our GM has done perfectly and is why I can't tell if it's his choice or ours when "time passes, you arrive" happens). If the GM tries it and a player asks "wait...did anything exciting happen on the trip," or "there was stuff I wanted to do on the way," then it is probably a good idea to play the trip out. If your adventure is the journey, it's a good idea to play it out. Otherwise, reading the mood of the group seems the best option.

Also, maybe a consideration of medium is in order. I've come to the opinion that, for an online Hangout game, screen time is best filled with action. Description, stage-setting prose, espionage, and possibly stories about what happens during travels ("the towns you pass seem to be in a state of depression and defeat, grudgingly rebuilding after the destructive herd of beastmen that just came through") are best left for emails and play-by-post in between sessions. 

Does anyone else have similar or differing opinions about on-air vs tabletop vs play-by-post?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Post Drought

As the college semester commences, you can expect less and less from me. Major bummer, dude.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Star Wars RPG 2

We begin with our heroes finishing their basic training. Beka gave our heroes their first assignment: locate rebel hero Zan Wilhelm. Zan was scouting a sector of space that contained the planet of Gobindi for possible new rebel bases. 

Having been temporary assigned two X-wings, the group arrived in the Gobindi system and scanning was started for debris. Wreckage was soon found in orbit of Gobindi, but no escape pod. Two TIE fighters were encountered and shot down in orbit of the planet. Further scanning found the pod on the surface of the planet. 

The pod appeared intact, but the pilot was missing. Tracks showed that Zan had been captured and placed on board a repulsor lift vehicle. Scans led our heroes to a secret imperial base. 

There a quick battle with the remaining two TIE fighters on the base got our heroes two more kills. Landing in the compound, our heroes attempted to steal the Imperial shuttle that was on the landing pad, but the doors wouldn't open. The base's hangar was severely damaged before the team decided to retreat back to their base without having accomplished their objective.[1]

Upon reporting back to Beka, a strike force was assembled and flew off to Gobindi in a YT-1300. The raid on the Imperial base resulted on casualties on both sides, but far worse for the Imperials.

With the elimination of all stormtroopers and officers, only the tech crew was left. Supplies were rounded up along with the wounded and the dead. The officer's shuttle was taken and all returned to their base in the ashes of Korr. 

A few days after their return to base, Alderaan was destroyed.

[1] The team felt themselves seriously outnumbered, with shooters from the hanger and the Imperial base, while only one person on the team even had a rifle.

Monday, September 1, 2014

[WFRP 2e] Morrslieb's Shadow 39

Maximillian Morningglory, Halfling Vampire Hunter
Magnus the Pony

My companions
Udrin Sor-Valdir - High Elf Wizard
Ludovic Hasselhoff - Human Entertainer (Absent)
Durak Braksson - Dwarf

Tegort - Ogre bodyguard
Abelhardt Mullberger - Journeyman Apprentice
Fickuld - Young Camp Follower

(Previous update)

Two days travel brought us to the outskirts of the barrens in the Howling Hills. Sleep was rough. The howling is rather persistent. Indistinct voices call out as you try to fall asleep. I'm pretty sure it was undead. Udrin told me I have an overactive imagination.

Dark clouds were rolling in when we heard fighting up ahead. We were pretty far away, but there were figures on horseback fighting shorter figures on the ground. Nobody wanted to get in the middle of a fight, so we moved cautiously forward until we could get a better look.

Tegort was the first to identify a shape. He said the figures on the ground were dwarves risen from the dead. I ordered his attack. I cannot, will not tolerate the walking dead. The figures on horseback must be friendly.

The dwarves were undead, skeletal husks. However, the mounted figures were those evil elves! Tegort went after a dwarf, but an elf charged down an intercepted him. I took he dwarf out instead with a well-placed crossbow bolt. Ludovic gallantly defended Mullberger.

Tegort punched a horse in the head. I could see that the undead were controlled by another dwarf in gleaming armor. His eyes glowed an eerie blue. The only thing worse than the living dead are those that raise and control them. I took aim and started shooting.

Around us the fighting ceased. Durak had shown up at some point in the battle and dispatched a dark elf or two. The undead dwarves had fallen. Udrin threw some kind of magic at the dwarf necromancer before Durak walked over and started speaking to the creature. My mouth fell open in shock. I couldn't tell what they were saying, but Udrin could. He joined in the conversation. I shook my head. I still had three bolts left. I raised my crossbow, and killed the necromancer. His body disappeared.

I gave a shout of triumph at my latest great for vanquished. Thunder sounded overhead, and it started to rain. I ran up to the closest ruin to build a fire. Tegort started skinning horses in the rain.

The ruin had a door in the back and young Fickuld opened it. He has a curious mind, much like my own. I would have opened the door if Tegort hadn't had me cooking horse steaks at the time. He found a sarcophagus. Inside was the burial place of the dwarf I killed outside, which Durak and Udrin are calling a wight not a necromancer. Either way, a corrupt enemy fell to my skillful aim.

I told Fickuld to be cautious back there. I had warned of undead just last night, though Udrin had ignored me.

We looked around the burial chamber and found a trap door leading downward. Durak explored it and found it opened to a small chamber with a pit in the back. Discussion ensued on whether to try the pit or keep marching overland.

Tegort called me to finish the steaks (one side was getting too well done while I was gone). Udrin told me to leave while they decided how we were to proceed.

Back out in the other room, Mullberger was studying his spells, mumbling about being out of practice. Apparently he had tried to cast some spells during the fight, though none of us noticed.

If he was having trouble, I thought he might be able to practice until we got to where we were going. I asked what kind of magic he practiced. He said that Azyr magic was about looking into the future and reading the stars. It seemed a bad night to read the stars, with all the rainclouds and all, but I suggested he might want to look into the future to see which route we should take to our goal.

He got excited, and used a liver Tegort had claimed from a horse to cast his spell. He stated that the overland route seemed promising. I thought on what I had learned about wights, especially dwarf wights and agreed with his spell. While the supposed leaders were in the other room debating how to proceed, Mullberger and I decided we'd be going overland.